Josh Hamilton will take the next step in his march back into the Texas Rangers’ lineup Sunday as he begins a rehab assignment with Triple A Round Rock at Nashville.
The left fielder played Friday in an extended spring game on his 11th day in Surprise, Ariz., and was deemed ready for a higher level of competition after going 1-for-5 with a three-run homer against Seattle. The Rangers have no set plan for how long Hamilton will be with Round Rock.
Round Rock returns home for a four-game series Tuesday but hits the road again next weekend. The Rangers are home for seven games beginning Monday before on off day May 18 ahead of a nine-game road trip to Boston, New York and Cleveland.
“In the case of guys that are on rehab, it’s meeting the criteria of the rehab and then evaluate the quality,” manager Jeff Banister said. “It’s about him being in shape and having his legs underneath him and the ability to repeat daily how he feels.”
Hamilton had surgery on his right shoulder Feb. 4 and did not participate in any activities during spring training with the Los Angeles Angels, who became disgruntled with Hamilton after a relapse with cocaine and shipped him to the Rangers on April 20.
Hamilton said that he weighed 242 pounds upon reporting to the Surprise Recreation Campus on April 21, and he hopes to maintain that weight throughout the season. Hamilton, who turns 34 on May 21, is expected to become the everyday left fielder and bat in the middle of a lineup that continues to have the worst batting average (.224) in the American League.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760